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Owen Farrell ‘fully accepts he needs to change’ his tackling technique | England rugby union team

Owen Farrell “fully accepts he needs to change” his tackling technique after being named England captain for the Six Nations despite his three-week suspension. In another development which lays bare the extent to which a disciplinary loophole has been exploited, it is also understood Farrell is set to play a full role in England’s training camp next week despite his ‘availability’ for a club game.

Farrell was unveiled as captain on Monday by Steve Borthwick, who also ruled out Billy Vunipola, Jonny May and Jack Nowell from his England first-team tenure. 20-year-old fly-half Fin Smith is among the eye-catching uncapped inclusions while Dan Cole, Elliot Daly and Ben Earl all return after falling out of favor under Eddie Jones.

Farrell’s selection was effectively approved last week when the Rugby Football Union sought to clarify the situation by writing to inform Saracens that he was available for their game against Bristol on January 28, ensuring that game counted towards his ban, making it in turn available. for England’s Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 4.

Borthwick insisted he played no role in the process, beyond seeking clarity last week to ensure he wouldn’t jeopardize Farrell’s availability by picking him. The head coach declined to say whether Farrell would have played against Bristol if he hadn’t been banned, however – a key issue as he almost certainly wouldn’t have as the players selected for the England squad Six Nations are traditionally not released to their clubs the weekend before the Championship begins.

In reality, Farrell is unavailable to face Bristol – he is suspended – despite the RFU’s decision to write to Saracens to ensure he is free to train fully and lead his side in Calcutta. Cup. It’s also understood that Farrell doesn’t even have to leave the England side at the start of next week to at least maintain the pretense he’s being released for the Bristol game. Instead, like the rest of the squad, he must be in camp until next Friday night, leaving less than 24 hours until kick-off.

Quick guide

England Six Nations squad


Attackers Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, George McGuigan, Bevan Rodd, Sam Simmonds, Kyle Sinckler , Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis
Back Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Dan Kelly, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Alex Mitchell, Cadan Murley, Henry Slade, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Ben Youngs

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“My point of view is that I am the head coach of England, my job is to select the players who are available to me,” said Borthwick. “The disciplinary system is run completely as an independent process, and I think we would agree that there should be this division. We all wanted clarification and I asked for clarification on this last week. J I was told unequivocally by the RFU legal department on Friday that Owen would be available for the Six Nations opener.

Farrell’s ban was issued for a high tackle on Gloucester’s Jack Clement – slightly too high rather than malicious – but he developed a reputation, in part, due to his aggressive approach in defence. He was banned for five weeks in September 2020 for a bad tackle on Charlie Atkinson and caused controversy for a hit against South African Andre Esterhuizen in England’s narrow victory over the Springboks in 2018.

“I think in all of sport we know we have to change,” England defense coach Kevin Sinfield said. “Owen fully accepts that he has to change and is prepared to work extremely hard at it. Anyone who worked with me at Leicester will know how hard we worked after the height of the tackle. We want children across the country choose good [habits] up, boys and girls, to practice our sport. We want parents to be happy for their children to play, so we absolutely support safety measures. »

Borthwick insisted it was a simple decision to hand Farrell the captaincy while naming Courtney Lawes and Ellis Genge as his vice-captains. He would not be drawn to the suspicion that he will play Farrell at fly-half rather than inside the center and insisted the door remains open for omitted players such as Vunipola, May and Nowell, who have 185 selections between them.

“[Owen] has always been this incredibly competitive and dynamic character, always. But he added more layers to his leadership,” Borthwick said. “I’ve spoken with all the players and they’ve all been very complimentary about Owen’s leadership.”

theguardian Gt

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